A short story

Evan closed his now empty desk drawers and stood up. Like the drawers, the desktop and the walls were bare. The computer would be wiped clean and show someone else’s desktop before this day would end. All he had were the two cardboard boxes of books and personal decorations on a dolly. Now push to the elevator, descend, load boxes in the car and drive home. Behind him this office would show no trace he’d been here.
He sighed. He’d come here thinking he could make a difference, make this division a better workplace. But the old ways were surprisingly strong. Work, work, work, don’t show you have a life outside the job, it’d be seen as weakness. People had written him off, then he’d gotten a few people to begin to listen, started having meetings people enjoyed rather than dreaded. THen the CEO and board chair must have decided he was a threat and ought to go. Change exactly as they wanted it, no more. Of course they said nothing at all like that had happened, they were restructuring because of the changing global marketplace, and promised him good recommendations. He didn’t believe them.
What was the point of big dreams that led nowhere?
“Lord,” he prayed. “Help me remember what I sensed yesterday,” he said, remembering his prayers last night. “I should look to you for affirmation, not to my bosses.” He wanted to say it was one thing to labor on without much encouragement, another thing to be laid off, but he really knew God was faithful in either. Being laid off felt a lot harder though.

But in heaven it would feel different. “Thanks for trying,” Jesus might say. “You knew things could be better and you tried to make it happen.” Of course, he hadn’t always gotten it right. But Jesus was the only one who had always gotten it right. Of course he’d approve of an honest effort, coupled with a willingness to admit shortcomings. So he could walk out of here with his head high. Not just the “don’t give them the satisfaction of showing they got to you,” spirit, but in a “I did well. I didn’t get the result I hoped for but I tried.” In heaven, all those tries would be remembered. How many others had tried and failed to make a difference where they were? In heaven, they would see the results they had hoped for. So keep trusting, don’t lose hope. 

Social Justice: The dividing line

Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago exposes great injustices and evils, the millions who were arrested, starved, beaten and imprisoned by the Soviet Union. Solzhenitsyn knew this injustice at first hand. But in prison he became a believer in God, and he longed for God’s justice. He wrote how in prison he learned to reflect, and as he saw the evil of his jailers asked himself “were we really any better?” And he wrote how the dividing line between good and evil goes right through every human heart, that you cannot divide up mankind into good people and evil people, then suppress the evil ones. To do so can make the “good” ones in charge into evil. 

Wine and Communion

Good quote from Gisela Kreglinger

The drinking of wine in the Lord’s Supper draws us into the world of sacrifice. It is here that the spiritual meaning of wine takes on multiple facets that offer rich reflections for Christian life and practice. Just as grapes must be gathered, crushed, and turned into fine wine through the miracle of fermentation, so must human life come under the loving judgment of God.
Book preview

The law, the Word, grace and truth

Psalm 119, longest chapter in the Bible. The writer is so convinced the law is a great thing. This startles us, because we're convinced Jesus is so much greater than the Law. As John says, the law came through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

But Psalm 119 does say God is greater than the law. "Your word, Lord, is eternal. It stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations." Just as John proclaims the Word as eternal, from the beginning with God, the Word with God, who is God.

Psalm 89 reminds us of something else firm in the heavens. God's covenant with David, to establish his line, his throne forever. Praise to the Son of David, who has ruled, who will rule forever.


I came to God asking for help. My situation seemed impossible, I needed it to change.
I learned not just to ask for change, but to lay out before God my feelings. And now, I catch glimpses of peace, knowing God is with me, even if the situation has not yet changed.

The Golden Calf

Sometimes as I read Exodus I sympathize with the Israelites when they doubt or complain against God. "God, aren't you a little harsh?" I want to ask when I read about the people complaining about the food or water, or being afraid of the fiery mountain or pillars of cloud.

But it struck me recently how this attitude (like the people when they did rebel) completely misses the obvious. They were slaves in Egypt, now they are not slaves. Doesn't that outweigh some hardships in the desert? And then this morning I read the story of the Golden Calf. Despite the familiarity it shocked me anew. The people, feeling that Moses had vanished, choose to make new gods to worship! They didn't just cool slightly in their enthusiasm for God, they gave up on him altogether.

I too have wanted to give up on God altogether. Fortunately he persuades me to hang on.

God prunes his branches

Jesus says he is the vine, his Father is the vine grower, and we are the branches. (John 15:1-2). Every branch that bears fruit, the Father prunes. This is a startling, even painful thought. He doesn't want everything that spontaneously grows out of us, he cuts things back to enhance our fruitfulness. But we know he loves us and has compassion. So we can trust he prunes us for our good.